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Hacking cough: Tottenham and England great Jimmy Greaves needs your help

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Below the photo of the young Syrian would-be refugee and the story of escaping death, The People leads with the news that we have 72 hours to “save” Jimmy Greaves. The first thought is ‘for the nation’?

Inside we learn:

Jimmy Greaves is struggling to raise £30k he needs to walk again – and there’s just 72 hours to get the money

Jimmy Greaves is one of the best footballers ever to have pulled on an England shirt. Famous for scoring 44 goals for England in just 57 appearances, missing the 1966 World Cup final – his place taken by hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst – and fronting the excellent footy telly show Saint & Greavsie, the former Tottenham Hotspur’s star is ill. And the paper knows who to blame for his predicament:

Soccer should hang its head in shame today as the Sunday People urges the moneybags sport: Be a Saint for Greavsie

Should football teams club together to help the former player? Should they help him any more than any other outfit that’s employed Sir James, like ITV  (as well as S&G he captained a team on the broadcaster’s Sporting Triangles) or the Sun, the Mirror’s great tabloid rival, which employed Jimmy as a columnist? Or maybe – get this – the Sunday People should dig deep and help out because Jimmy wrote a column for it, too. The People is published by the Trinity Mirror Group, which when it’s not hacking phones made a profit of  £12.1m during the first six months of 2015.

No word of any of that in Matt Sprake’s article, which thunders:

A record £870million has just been spent by clubs on player transfers – but Jimmy Greaves, one of England’s ­greatest ever players, is struggling to raise £30,000 he needs to walk again.

Trinity Mirror is worth around £386m.

But the paper wants to use Greavsie’s illness to bash football not beat itself up. After all, it helped one other well refreshed former England and Spurs legend – Paul Gascoigne – with a tidy £188,250, albeit a ‘donation‘ enforced by law because Mirror Group journalists hacked his phone.

 

England international footballer Jimmy Greaves featured on a news poster for 'The People' newspaper advertising an exclusive story about his short and unhappy time with AC Milan in 1961.

England international footballer Jimmy Greaves featured on a news poster for ‘The People’ newspaper advertising an exclusive story about his short and unhappy time with AC Milan in 1961.

 

Sprake adds:

Greavsie, 75, has just three days left to get the money – less than many Premier League stars earn in a week – to pay for intensive physio following a devastating stroke in May. A fund is due to close in 72 hours and last night was well short of the target reports the Sunday People.

But the fact such a legendary figure should be in such a position at all has sparked anger.

Why doesn’t the NHS step in to help an England sporting great? It turns out that the physio is wanted in addition to NHS care.

George Cohen, one of England’s 1966 World Cup winning side and Jimmy’s close friend, urged football to act: “Someone in football could easily give Jimmy the full £30,000 in one go. I’d do it ­immediately if I had the money.”

George Cohen is well. But should he fall ill, would any club help him?

Greavsie missed out on big money soccer. He played for Chelsea, Tottenham and AC Milan… he was on just £8 a week when he signed for Chelsea in 1957.

Greaves did earn healthy signing-on fees. But compared to today’s massive wages, his pay packet was feathery light.

In 1961, Greaves opined:

“I’ve got to look to the future. I’d be a fool if I didn’t want to make as good money as I can while I can. Football’s all I’m good at. What I want is security for when I retire.”

He told the Observer:

“There are these reports that Bologna would pay £70,000 to Chelsea for me if the foreign player ban ever came off,” says Jimmy, who is earning £20 a week for his scintillating performances. “One report said that would mean I’d collect a £20,000 signing-on fee. It’s all right playing for Chelsea. But I’d like much better playing for a world-class club that paid real money.

“One thing, I never get butterflies before a match,” Jimmy goes on. “And after, if I’ve done well or badly, I always remember there’s a next time. Smoking helps me relax. About 10 a day, but they don’t affect my fitness. I like the odd drink, too.”

 

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In 1961, Greaves joined AC Milan for £80,000. Later that same year he joined Spurs for £99,999. In 1961, the average house price was £2,770 and a litre of four-star petrol cost 5p. The average price of a home today is £200,280. There was big money. But back then then clubs and not the players got the bulk of it. Today Greaves would earn a fortune.

But would he look after it? The booze caught Greaves, who retired age 30.

“I lost the 70s completely,” he says. “They passed me by. I was drunk from 1972 to 1977. I woke up one morning and realised that it was a different world. I’d been living in it, but I hadn’t been aware of it.”

He adds:

“Let’s make no bones about it. I wish I was playing today. Some of the players get half a dozen goals a year and earn a fortune. I look back at my Chelsea days when you had to fight to get £8 a week in the winter and £7 a week in the summer, and now there are players who haven’t even played in the first team on 40 grand a week.”

Greaves missed the Premier League. But is football really ignoring one of its greats? At the bottom of the People’s article, we learn:

Tottenham Tribute Trust [TTT], a football charity set up to aid ex-players, has been helping Jimmy adapt his home. They have also helped fund some of the early treatment he required.

TTT “was set up in 2002 to help people connected with Spurs who have fallen on difficult times.” On its website, we learn:

TTT is bound by confidentiality and so never comments on the support we have provided (nor who we have provided it to) without the consent of our beneficiaries, for whom our help is often a deeply private matter.

The Mirror adds:

The Professional Footballers Association has also vowed to assist. Football Association chiefs have been in contact with JustGiving, who run Greavsie’s fundraising page, to seek further ways of boosting funds. Chairman Greg Dyke has made a ­donation, understood to be in four-figures. But the rest of the football world seems to have forgotten Jimmy.

It’s clear that the ‘football world’ has not forgotten Jimmy Greaves. And neither has the tabloid media. Maybe together they can dig deep and help him out…?

PS: On Greaves’ website, we learn:

Jimmy needs at least a year of physio and because his income has all but disappeared because of the stroke, we have set up a just giving page to try and raise £30,000 towards the cost. We have already raised around £15k with the people and Freda & my company A1 Sporting Speakers helping out , but this £30k extra could help Jimmy to make more of a recovery. He has a long hard road ahead but we would love to see him back somewhere near his old self. Here’s a link to the donations page. Every little helps. Thanks to everyone who donates a little bit. Every pledge is received with gratefullness and love. https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/JimmyGreaves

And over there we learn that the 30k has nearly been raised. He’s not “struggled” to raise it at all.

 

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The Mirror’s story of 72 hours to save Greaves unless £30k is raised is total balls. He needs under £3k. People have been generous. Football has not ignored his plight.

Donate here.

Posted: 6th, September 2015 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Footballers Forever Associated With Certain Items Of Food

FOOTBALLERS Forever Associated With Certain Items Of Food

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“Mark Bosnich was a terrible professional,” claims Sir Alex Ferguson in his autobiography, which was launched in a small room above a Salford pub last week, to mass indifference.

“We played down at Wimbledon and Bosnich was tucking into everything: sandwiches, soups, steaks. He was going through the menu. I told him, ‘For Christ’s sake, Mark, we’ve got the weight off you. Why are you tucking into all that stuff?’ We arrived back in Manchester, and Mark was on mobile phone to a Chinese restaurant to order a takeaway.”

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And with these words, Mark ‘Sniffer’ Bosnich achieves membership of the exclusive Footballers Forever Associated With Certain Items Of Food Club.

Description=Front and back page of the early edition (all editions the same) of The Sun dated Tuesday 26th October 2004. Headline reads: WAR AND PIZZA - Slices hurled at Fergie : Wenger yelled abuse : Soup & sarnie barrage (relating to events after Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-0 at Old Trafford 24.10.2004). Pictured are: Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Zoe Salmon (the new presenter on Blue Peter), Jordan and Michael Carroll (Lottery lout and chav)

There could even have been another, had Fergie revealed the identity of the culprit to blame for ‘Pizzagate’, when a row between himself and Arsene Wenger in 2004 culminated in carb carnage. “The next thing I knew, I had pizza all over me,” recalls the red-faced recently-retired ruler of Old Trafford. He says he did not see who threw it, but that Cesc Fabregas has been suggested to him. And that’s good enough for us, so Cesc is hereby inducted, along with his missile of choice.

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Arsene Wenger remained typically inscrutable this week: “I don’t know about food throwing. I did not see if something was thrown – you’ll have to ask someone else, because I don’t know.”

When Cesc arrives, he will find another Arsenal old boy awaiting him…

Chips

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In 1986, ‘Champagne’ Charlie was arrested outside the Confusion Bar in Ibiza, for an unusual twist on the usual footballers’ fracas. Scottish holidaymaker Lori McElroy alleged that Nicholas stole a chip from her, and then broke her jaw in the ensuing argument. Nicholas was found guilty but continued to deny any wrongdoing.

Chips would haunt Charlie years later, when working as a pundit for Sky. Anchorman Jim White, presumably assuming his mic was switched off, referred to the Celtic fans’ chorus of The Fields of Athenrye with a reference to the Irish potato famine.

“Oh here we go again, the tottie famine,” said Jim.
“Aye, and they’re all eating chips while singing this,” replied Nicholas, to the displeasure of the Bhoys’ worldwide army of millions.

Roast dinner with all the trimmings

Traditional Sunday roast beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and vegetables

 

Jimmy Greaves, Chelsea

Terry Venables remembers breaking into the Chelsea team as a youngster and playing alongside the legendary Jimmy Greaves. Greavsie was only three years older than Terry, yet he was already a superstar, and would soon move to AC Milan. He lived near Venables, and would give him a lift to matches. The first time this happened, Jim explained that he usually stopped for lunch at a café, so they went in and Venables – already at the vanguard of modern practices – ordered steamed chicken. He was shocked to see Greaves polish off a massive plate of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, veg, and roast AND mashed potatoes. This he followed up with a large bowl of stodge and custard. “I always have this,” he said. Venables says Greaves proceeded to score a hatful of goals that afternoon. But then, he usually did.

Speaking of dinners, an honoury mention must also go to erstwhile Orient manager John ‘bring yer fu*king dinner’ Sitton, for his legendary televised half-time rant…

Lasagna

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Tottenham Hotspurs' Michael Carrick and Jermain  Defoe walk off dejected at the final whistle

Tottenham Hotspurs’ Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe walk off dejected at the final whistle

Martin Jol’s Tottenham side of 2005-06 will be remembered for their valiant but ultimately unsuccessful assault on the final Champions League spot. To make it worse, it was arch-rivals West Ham who ruined their party by beating them 2-1 on the final day. And to put the tin lid on it, it was Arsenal who pipped them to fourth.

The defeat was blamed squarely upon a lasagna which had been served to the players at the London Marriott in West India Quay, where the players aere staying before the game. Ten players went down with a mystery illness, assumed to be food poisoning, although the hotel was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Pies

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David Beckham, as reported here recently, is a lifelong pie and mash fan, and even went to the lengths of taking the Spurs players and backroom staff to lunch at a local emporium during his brief stint training at the north London club.

But when it comes to meat-filled be-crusted comestibles, one man is synonymous: chunky Mick Quinn, whose candid autobiography is rhetorically entitled Who Ate All The Pies?

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The scouse goal-machine once picked up a pie that was thrown at him from the crowd and ate it, to the amusement of all. He has been known to repeat the story from time to time in the course of his broadcasting duties.

Mars Bars

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Paul Gascoigne’s love of the ‘iconic’ chocolate brick was well known, and when he turned out for Spurs against his former club Newcastle United the Toon fans bombarded him with said confectionary. Whereupon Gazza ‘did a Quinny’ and chomped enthusiastically.

Testicles

Mention ‘testicles and football’ and the connection is obvious: Wimbledon FC – although this is nothing to do with Gazza’s bollocks…

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…and everything to do with the defunct club’s owner Sam Hammam, who introduced the novel forfeit of eating sheep’s gonads as part of the ‘Crazy Gang’ disciplinary code.

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Crisps

No contest…

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Sandwiches

It would be easy to just post a picture of Roy Keane, who indirectly coined the phrase “prawn sandwich brigade” during a mini-rant about Manchester United’s gentrified supporters.

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Yet Keano’s comments are trumped by events at Grimsby, where Town’s Ivano Bonetti was supposedly injured when manager Brian Laws threw chicken wings at him. The sandwich-based truth is slightly different.

14-FEB-96 ... Grimsby v West Ham .... Grimsby's controversial Ivano Bonetti pictured before the game

Laws says that Bonetti hurled sandwiches – and a punch – at him, and that he merely retaliated in kind: “I’ve no idea where the chicken leg or wing part of the story came from! It almost put a bit of humour to it, but we felt it was best to leave things be and put things right later on. That incident gets brought up quite a lot and people laugh at it now – and I do as well – but at the time it wasn’t very funny or nice to be involved in. It was an incident which unfortunately spilled out into the press and all hell broke loose at the time.”

McDonald’s

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The restaurant of choice for footballers seeking a pre-brawl snack, as patronised by Lee Bowyer (pictured here fighting with team-mate Kieran Dyer). Bowyer was convicted of affray at the Isle of Dogs branch…

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And Joey Barton, back home in Liverpool…

Oranges

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Charlton Athletic keeper Charlie Wright is fondly remembered for his tendency to wander behind his goal and chat with supporters. Legend has it that once, while accepting an orange from a fan, the opponents scored.

Salad cream

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Step up, Dave Beasant. If you can, that is.

Beasant missed two months of the 1993-94 season after knocking over a jar of salad cream which fell onto his foot, causing serious injury. Some say it was mayonnaise, but unfashionable salad cream took the rap.

Bananas

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Eternal spring chicken Gordon Strachan (pictured here with the world’s largest banana split) famously lives on a diet of the curvy peely fruit. “Gordon couldn’t spell banana when he was 20,” says former team-mate Alex McLeish “He ate pork pies then. But we had a teetotal right-back called Stuart Kennedy who brought in books about the diets of Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova. That’s when we started good eating habits.”

Unfortunately, the enduring image of footballers and bananas is less savoury. John Barnes was famously snapped back-heeling a banana thrown at him by the Goodison faithful in 1988.

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“I don’t remember doing that,” he said later. “I mean the picture is there but bananas back then were common. The reason it all came to the fore is because I was playing for a high-profile club like Liverpool. For six years before, that happened every week, but because it was a small club it wasn’t highlighted. In terms of me being angry and wanting to fight people in the stands though, it never happened, I consider those people to be ignorant, so how could they affect any part of life or any part of my demeanour.”

 

 

Posted: 30th, October 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Sports | Comments (2)


When sport gets dirty: the sports stars who urinated on the pitch

WHEN sport gets dirty

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‘Wicketleaks’ – the story (leaked by two Australian journalists) that England cricketers urinated on the hallowed Oval square after an evening of victory celebration – has apparently been resolved by an apology from the players involved.

However, high-minded criticism heaped upon them by the likes of Shane Warne has focused on the idea that they have in some way ‘disrespected’ the sport in general and Oval’s tradition in particular. (This, remember is the ground that was until recently named the Foster’s Oval, after a commercially manufactured brand of Australian piss.)

But at least they, like Monty Panesar earlier in the month, did not perform their al fresco urination during the game itself. The same, sadly, cannot be said for exponents of less classy games.

David Fleming wrote the seminal article on sporting incontinence.

In it, he cites a survey by the Oklahoma Foundation for Digestive Research, which found that 72 per cent of conditioned athletes have suffered from lower-intestine distress.

And that’s without even considering the weak bladders.

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Posted: 31st, August 2013 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Brazil v England: the ten most interesting encounters

WITH the renovated Maracanã stadium reduced to well under half its previous capacity, and finally ruled safe for England’s match against Brazil – and with the record standing at 11 wins for Brazil, four for England, and nine draws – we look back at ten of the most interesting encounters…

1956: England 4-2 Brazil

Hungary may have thrashed England 6-3 and 7-1 a few years earlier, and England may have been unceremoniously dumped out of the 1954 World cup by the USA, but as far as most people were concerned, the Empire Stadium at Wembley was still the home of football.

This was Stanley Matthews’s day, and his domination of the legendary full-back Nilton Santos was probably the deciding factor in winning him the first Ballon d’Or. A notable achievement in itself, and even more so when one considers that he was 41 years old.

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Posted: 1st, June 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


The other side of West Ham and England’s Bobby Moore ‘King of the Bar Stool’

AS the West Ham faithful congregate at the Bolyn Ground to remember Bobby Moore, here are some memories of the maestro, not all of which are likely to be mentioned in the match programme…

Boozer

Moore’s drinking exploits were legendary, and a couple of crates of lager were always on hand when Bobby held court. He was once even sensationally dropped from the West Ham team for breaking curfew the evening before an FA Cup tie in Blackpool. Best friend Jimmy Greaves called Mooro the ‘King of the Bar Stool’. Usually, however, Tina and Mrs Peters were not involved…

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Posted: 25th, February 2013 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment


The lower-league legends who played for England

THEY came from nowhere… Meet the lower-league legends who graced the highest stage of all.

Wilfried Zaha’s call-up to the full England squad has raised eyebrows among those accustomed to the Premier League closed shop that has become the norm in recent times. But there are historical precedents for the Crystal Palace wide man’s sudden rise to fame – and not all the lower-league debutants are from the dim and distant past…

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Posted: 13th, November 2012 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Sports | Comment